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WPF/E Becomes 'Silverlight'

Microsoft's forthcoming cross-platform browser plug-in for rich media content, known until now as Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere (WPF/E), has an official name: "Silverlight."

The company on Monday debuted the name of its new rich-media plug-in as it looks to take on its entrenched rival, Adobe Systems, provider of the popular Flash plug-in environment. At the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas, Adobe launched the new Flash-based Adobe Media Player for desktop use, Adobe Creative Suite 3 and previews of new video editing tools.

Silverlight has been dubbed Microsoft's "Flash Killer," and the company is also taking aim at Adobe's deep base in the professional design community through its new line of Expression tools.

While Adobe trotted out its new products and a new solution provider program, Microsoft's focus for now is on WPF/E's new name as it looks to brand Silverlight.

"One of the things we realized was super-important was figuring out a brand that resonates across a bunch of different audiences," from developers to consumers, said Brian Goldfarb, product manager on the UX Web/Client team in Microsoft's developer division. The code name "WPF/E" didn't accomplish that, he says.

The real news for developers will come at Microsoft's MIX07 conference in Las Vegas from April 30 to May 2. There, Microsoft will release the Silverlight beta to developers, and also lay out a more detailed development vision for the new technology.

Developer Division Corporate Vice President S. "Soma" Somasegar gave a glimpse of what's to come on his blog Monday. "[T]his Silverlight announcement...is only part of the story. The rest will be unveiled at MIX, including details about how Silverlight is a core component of Microsoft's broader .NET platform," he wrote.

Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect, and Scott Guthrie, general manager in Microsoft's developer division, will discuss Silverlight in keynote addresses, according to Somasegar.

Silverlight uses Windows Media Video (WMV-9), Microsoft's implementation of the VC-1 video standard, making Silverlight compatible with existing Web content as well as able cater to a range of scalable video needs, from full-screen high-definition to content geared for mobile devices, according to the company.

Also, Microsoft said the technology will integrate painlessly with client- and server-based AJAX solutions, such as ASP.NET AJAX.

About the Author

Chris Kanaracus is the news editor for Redmond Developer News.

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